Irish film wins Sundance award
An animated Irish short which last night won a prize at the Sundance Film Festival was made as “pure propaganda” for people to look differently at Irish rural dressers, its director has said.
“I wanted people to look at it in a new way so had to find a new way to do it,”maker of the eight minute documentary Tony Donoghue told The Irish Times. “Furniture is boring” so the film lets the audience walk into the subject, he said.
Mr Donoghue was "shocked" when his film Irish Folk Furniture received the award for best animated short at the prestigious festival in Utah last night.
“We found this film full of life and told with simplicity” Mike Farah of said as he presented the award on behalf of the Sundance jury.
Irish Folk Furniture uses clever stop-motion to argue for the beauty and texture of traditional chairs, dressers, tables and assorted furniture. Shot on an elderly stills camera, the picture, which features music by David Kitt, was made under the Irish Film Board’s Frameworks short film scheme.
The film was made entirely in his home Tipperary parish of Terryglass Kilbarron and as a “green” film was made using available equipment, a €150 camera and a bicycle and tractor as transport. In the film, 16 pieces of traditional folk furniture are repaired and returned home.
Mr Donoguhe puts some of the reaction down to people's interest in films which could have a parallels in their own culture. “It could be from a Polish or Korean farm, the integrity take it beyond the specific," he said
Ten years ago he did a survey of dressers found in Tipperary farms and thirty-two of the 38 dressers he found were being used as storage in an agricultural context.While making the film some Tipperary locals were skeptical, since it was shown on television farmers have been their tractors to shake his hand, he said.
Mr Donoghue said living in London, where he worked in museums, made him realise the importance of Irish dresser, te history and stories behind them and the lack of attention that is paid to culture in rural Irish society.
The film can be viewed on YouTube for the duration of the festival and will play on the big screen at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival next month.
The Sundance Film Festival, established in 1978, is seen as the most important independent film event on the calendar.
James Hickey, chief executive of the Irish Film Board, said: “Tony is a very talented filmmaker and we are delighted to see him receive the international recognition he deserves for his short film. We look forward to working with him in the future as he develops his career further.”
The film was produced by Cathal Black and made with funding from the Irish Film Board, RTE and Arts Council under the Frameworks scheme with travel to the film festival courtesy of Culture Ireland.
Mr Donghue’s previous work, A Film from My Parish, was screened at Sundance in 2009 and in 120 other film festivals in 40 countries.
There was further Irish success at Sundance when Nick Ryan’s The Summit, a documentary on an attempt to climb K2 in 2008, secured US distribution from Sundance Selects, a subsidiary of IFC Films. Ryan’s picture received rave reviews following screenings at the festival.